Sunday, 21 April 2013

That House

In Fremantle exists this house, an old Federation house with a history of prominence, life, dereliction and disaster, and every time I pass it I feel the need to pause and just stare at the facade that sits back from the street surveying the world as it passes by.

It is just an old house, significantly larger, more stately than the typical Federation house that dots the Fremantle hills. Large shady verandahs in perfect symmetry frame the front steps leading up in through the front door and down towards the coast and the sun setting over the sea below. It is just another old house, yet when I pass it, I feel drawn to stop by something more than its dilapidated stateliness. The paint in flaking, the colours fading but even before its newly manicured lawns were created it had a peace and serenity about it.

It is like a Greek grandmother who secure in her old age, her position in her community, what she has achieved and seen of life, sits out the front of her house and watches the world pass, watches the younger generations worry about settling down, supporting their lifestyles, finding their place in the world.

The history of the place is in keeping with the area, unseen, unexpected until one start listening to the stories of one's elders and digging through the archives. It was the home of Elias Solomon, Mayor, Member and business man for Fremantle before becoming Nurse Sheedy's Maternity hospital in the 1920s. The next I know of it, it was the setting of a murder by an escaped prisoner in the late 1970s/early '80s, but digitalised newspapers are unable to verify this.

For me it is a house that inspires. Inspires dreams of what I want to own, what I want to discover, uncover about the past, what I want to create and fictionalise even if it never lives up to the incredulity of reality.

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